Andrea Constand took the stand Friday at Bill Cosby’s retrial, telling a new jury about the sexual assault she alleges occurred in 2004 at Cosby’s home.
It was the second time Constand told her story to a jury, starting with the mentor-mentee friendship she established with Cosby between 2002 and 2004, when she was working for Temple University. She is the first witness at Cosby’s retrial who also testified last year at the first trial in Montgomery County.
More so than at the first trial, prosecutor Kristen Gibbons Feden emphasized the timeline of Constand’s relationship with Cosby, including several meetings leading up to the night of the alleged assault. That night, Constand said, she went to Cosby’s home to discuss her resignation from Temple, as she had decided to return to Canada and be a massage therapist.
She was stressed about the resignation, she said, and Cosby told her to take three small, round, blue pills “to relax.” He also instructed her to take a sip of wine, she said.
After taking the pills, Constand testified, she became weak and started seeing double. Cosby led her to a couch and she lost consciousness, she said.
Constand’s description of the alleged sexual assault itself was more concise and explicit than at the first trial.
Constand said she was “jolted awake” when “my vagina was being penetrated quite forcefully and I wasn’t able to—I felt my breasts being touched and he took my hand and placed my hand on his penis and masturbated himself with my hand, and I was not able to do a thing.”
Feden also asked about how Constand reacted at that moment.
“I wanted it to stop. I couldn’t say anything,” Constand said. “I was trying to get my hands to move, my legs to move, and the message just wasn’t getting there. I was weak.”
Constand said she confronted Cosby once about the assault a short time afterward. She also acknowledged that she continued to take Cosby’s calls after the alleged assault, and they were related to Temple University.
“I was just doing my job,” she said.
Then in 2005, she said, she told her mother in Canada and they called the police. Constand said she also called lawyers in Philadelphia because she was worried that Cosby might retaliate. She and her mother also called Cosby, who, Constand said, apologized over the phone.
“My life was changed from the day that I reported this to the police,” Constand said. “My life was never the same.”
Feden asked Constand in detail about each time she met with Cosby in person, and about the mentor-mentee relationship that developed. Cosby encouraged Constand to pursue a career in broadcasting, Constand said, and guided her to get photos taken and take acting classes.
During the first trial, Cosby’s lawyers had suggested that Constand and Cosby had a romantic or flirtatious relationship.
Feden asked several times whether Constand saw the relationship as romantic after different meetings with Cosby. Constand said no, and also said she did not feel threatened after Cosby made sexual advances and she refused. The advances were “absurd,” Constand said, as Cosby was older than her father, but she did not judge him.
“I had no question of my ability to fend off a person who was hitting on me or making a sexual advance,” she said.
One of Feden’s first questions was about Constand’s civil suit against Cosby, and the 2006 settlement. Constand said it settled for $3.38M, and that she has no ongoing civil litigation against Cosby. In opening arguments, the defense had said Constand was a “con artist” who lied about her interactions with Cosby in order to make money.
On cross-examination, defense attorney Tom Mesereau asked a number of questions about Constand’s interviews with police and her deposition in the civil lawsuit, focusing on inconsistencies in her various retellings of the alleged assault and other interactions with Cosby. In one instance, he asked her why the date of the alleged assault differed in various interviews.
“I was just trying to recall an enormous amount of information and I was very nervous and I was just trying to piece it together,” Constand said.
Mesereau also started to ask about Constand’s financial situation, asking whether she had sought other employment by working at Temple, or other means of making money. He asked about a so-called pyramid business referred to in emails from Constand, and Constand said she was not involved in that business, but was forwarding information from a friend.